Future Technology and the Emerging Green Economy

On April 14, 2017, the Green Business Initiative Student Associated hosted its 10th Annual Symposium at the University of Oregon in Portland. 

The Green Transportation panel discussion focused on electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are powered through a rechargeable battery, breaking the norm from the traditional inefficient combustion engine. These vehicles are on the rise throughout the nation, and they are more efficient, accelerate faster, and offer an environmentally friendly transportation alternative. However, barriers to entry remain. The panelists discussed policies and initiatives throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest to eliminate these barriers, and make electrification viable, while also focusing on the integration of electric vehicles on the personal and mass transit level, efforts to create the needed infrastructure and charging stations, as well as the legal and policies blocking and promoting these technologies.

The Green Energy panel discussed how Oregon is converting to green energy. Green energy is often talked about, but rarely fully understood. As concern continues to rise over the implications of climate change, green energy has been touted as the key greenhouse gas reducer in the industrial world. The panelists focused on the laws and policies in place in Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest that aim to integrate renewable green energy into the electric system. Highlights will include Oregon’s SB 1547 and its Community Solar provision, net metering, smart grid, effects on electric rates, and storage concerns and possibilities.

The first Keynote speaker was Michael Russo, Professor of Sustainable Management at Lundquist College of Business. Professor Russo discussed how consumers are equipped with more information about the businesses they support, and how consumers can drive businesses towards more sustainable practices.

The Urban Agriculture panel discussed the barriers faced by urban gardens. A large component of sustainability is in changing the way we produce and consume food. This panel discussed how urban areas provide fresh, local and organic food and how local policies and initiatives provide needed resources that are also economically affordable in a developing world. Panelists discussed initiatives and policies aimed at creating urbanize agriculture to remove transportation costs and emissions.

The final Keynote speaker was Professor Nico Larco, Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Oregon and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative. He discussed how do all of these moving parts come together to create a sustainable city and how all the various aspects can come into play in urban development to create economic growth in sustainable cities.

Watch the recording of the symposium here